Alexia Webster, a freelance photojournalist based in South Africa, spoke to the World Service this morning. She shared some fantastic stories about the work she has done, her motivation and what photojournalism means to her.
Announced International Peace Day every year, the Artraker Award, for which Alexia is one of five nominees,
provides visibility and financial support to artists working on art and conflict. It recognizes new ways to raise awareness, communicate, stimulate debate and transform our understanding of war, violent conflict and social upheaval.
Alexia’s latest project explores issues of identity and belonging through family photographs
She’s been working on it for the past two years, and has worked on these portraits on street corners. She’s invited people to come in, have their photograph taken with family and gives them free prints. She does this because they wouldn’t normally have access to such resources and says the project has been really well-received.
It’s a luxury but it’s also something incredibly precious and something that people really respond to.
The BBC also made an important point – family portraits are one of those items that people protect and take with them, particularly if they are displaced, in a conflict zone or are forced out of their homes.
It gives you a sense of identity and a sense and hope for the future, a sense of connectivity to your ancestors.
She’s visited conflict zones, refugee camps and other areas of social conflict and has felt that after so many years of taking photographs and “taking from them”, she wanted to “give something back.”